Media Agenda Setting and Press Performance: A Social System Approach for Building Theroy
In democracies, the decisions of individual reporters and editors combine to create media content (newspapers, newscasts) and somehow these psychological processes of individual media practitioners converge to create a sociological product, the media agenda. The responses of individual community members to those media products work together to create public concern, and somehow these psychological processes of individual community members converge to create another sociological product, the public agenda. If we are to get closer to a general understanding of how media agenda setting works and of its political importance to society, we need to understand how the psychological activities of individuals generate these sociological outcomes. We need to examine how the media claim to operate in different types of societies and how the media actually do operate in different types of societies, as well as how audiences claim to react to those operations and how audiences actually do react to them. We must be prepared to deal with both sociological and psychological theory, and with both theory and practice.